Russian soldiers in Mariupol
Two Russian soldiers patrol in the Mariupol drama theatre, bombed last March 16, in Mariupol on April 12, 2022 ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images


  • The UAF General Staff said Russia is abducting pro-Ukraine civilians in Luhansk Oblast
  • Russia was previously accused of forcibly transferring Mariupol citizens to Russian-controlled areas
  • Russia has also been accused of forcibly deporting thousands of Ukrainian children

Russia continues to forcibly abduct pro-Ukraine civilians living in temporarily occupied territories as the war extends into its 14th month, according to an intelligence report.

The abductions are mainly occurring in the city of Starobil's'k in Luhansk Oblast, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (UAF) said in an intelligence report. According to the report, civilians who are abducted by the Russian military are taken to an unknown location and are still missing.

"The Russian invaders do not stop their practice of forced abductions of civilians in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine," the UAF General Staff wrote in the report. "In particular, Russian occupation forces in Starobil's'k (Luhansk oblast) search the residences of civilians suspected of supporting Ukraine and take the people to unknown destinations they are not returning from."

Situation update as of 6 p.m., April 9, 2023Glory to Ukraine! Day 410 of the russian full-scale military aggression against Ukraine continues.During the day of April 9, the enemy launched more...

This is not the first time Russia has been accused of forcibly abducting civilians from Russian-controlled areas in Ukraine. In March 2022, civilians living in the south-eastern city of Mariupol said they felt coerced to transfer to the so-called "Donestk People's Republic (DNR)" after Russian forces successfully took over control of the city.

"We started to ask questions about evacuation, where it is possible to go... I was told [by a Russian soldier] that it was only possible to go to the DNR or to Russia. Another girl asked about other possibilities [to evacuate], for instance to Ukraine... The answer came straight away, the soldier interrupted and said, 'If you don't go to the DNR or the Russian Federation, you will stay here forever,'" Milena, a 33-year-old Ukrainian civilian, told Amnesty International.

In addition, Russia has also been accused of forcibly deporting thousands of Ukrainian children as young as four months old and sending them to facilities in Crimea and Russia to receive political reeducation with the goal of integrating them into "the Russian government's vision of national culture, history, and society," according to researchers from the Yale School of Public Health's Humanitarian Research Lab.

An arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin has since been issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his role in the forced deportation, transfer and adoption of Ukrainian children amid the war.

Russian soldiers visibly set up base in the school, leaving military rations, a filthy mattress and a uniform behind